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After snapping a three-game losing slide and taking two out of three against the New Jersey Jackals at Palisades Credit Union Park, the Rockland Boulders traveled up to Quebec holding a three game leading over the Capitales and looking to create some further space.

In game one of the series, the Boulders got off to a good start as Jared McDonald led off with a triple and scored on a Dylan Tice single. However, the Capitales quickly responded in the bottom half of the frame, scoring twice off Rockland starter Justin Topa (8-2).

Daniel Rockett put Quebec 3-1 leading off the 2nd with a solo homer over the left field wall. In the fifth, Jordan Lennerton put the game out of reach, hammering a two-run missile over the left field fence.

The Capitales managed to take the lead early in the game two of the series. With runners on second and third and one out in the second, Lachlan Fontaine up at the plate a pitch from Boulders starter Ari Kaufman skipped by catcher Daniel Arribas allowing Maxx Tissenbaum to score. The only other inning Kaufman ran into trouble was fifth where Quebec plated two additional runs on a sac fly by Jonathan Malo and solo home run by Yurisbel Gracial.

Kaufman went six innings allowing three runs on three hits while striking out four and walking two. The other bright spot for Rockland was newcomer Kelvin Ramos playing shortstop, belting a line drive that skipped by Quebec left fielder Philippe Craig-St. Louis allowing Aaron Wilson to motor around the bases for first. With runners on corner and two outs, Miles Moeller struck out Cody Regis.

“Ari was really awesome, a fantastic start and let’s be honest between both teams’ combined for nine hits and have to say a great series so far,” said Manager Jamie Keefe. “Both nights had good starts and we had our opportunities but just haven’t taken care of them. Tough to get upset with the guys when you have good opportunities. We have put the ball in play and they have made some good plays on us and nothing you can do about it.”

“At the end of the day a better call here and there at the plate and might be a different story. I don’t know if it’s the dog days and happens every season and think we’re going through that. An emotional eight or 10 days for this team and lost two of their guys. Pitching is not the issue right now and we just need a big hit. At the end of the season you just don’t hit .280 or .290 as a team and we have been swinging the bats well all year and don’t need 11 hits to win a ball game but seven or eight hits to get it done.”

“When you manager looks into your dugout and says wow that means something. No doubt this kid (Kelvin Ramos) defensively is phenomenal and anything we can get out of him offensively is huge and got something out of him tonight. He has a bright future as a Boulder and keep rocking with  him. He makes us better all-around defensively and be a defensive replacement next couple of days.”

In the series finale, the Boulders ran up against Capitales starter who dominated, tossing seven shutout innings allowing just four hits. Quebec scored all of its three runs in the fourth inning. Rockland starter Markus Solbach(6-3) turned in another impressive start hurling 7 innings yielding three runs on six hits while fanning five and walking one.

“All three of the starts were outstanding and bullpen was good,” Keefe said. “At the end of the day they’re hot and we’re not and trying to find ourselves right now which is okay. We played .700 ball all season and right now in a lull.”

With Quebec sweeping the three-game set, both teams’ are tied atop in the Can-Am League standings at 38-21. The Boulders return to Palisades Credit Union Park for a three-game series against the Trois-Rivieres Aigles. So far this season Rockland has swiped four out of six games.

“We have to figure out our identity this weekend and hopefully go out on Friday and give ourselves a chance to win the series,” said Keefe. “We can’t wait for the All-Star break and everybody’s ready. Let’s finish and go out and have a good weekend and win a series and get away from each other for three days.”

“All we need is one big hit, not a three-run homer and actually said it in the game we’re going to get ourselves in a situation at some point during the game and happened three times on Thursday that we’re going to be first and second and probably two outs and that’s the time we’re going to have to get a hit.”

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Sunil Sunder Raj

Since July of 2014 Sunil Sunder Raj has been with In The Zone. Sunil has experience covering minor league baseball, high school and college sports. A beat writer for the Rockland Boulders for six years, Ramapo College men’s basketball for four years, NJIT men’s basketball and Seton Hall women’s basketball. Now focusing on feature articles about athletes, coaches and sports media professionals. A graduate of Ramapo College of New Jersey with a bachelor of arts degree in journalism.
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